HomeEditorial CommentChoppies gives glimmer of hope

Choppies gives glimmer of hope

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CHOPPIES Enterprises buckled the trend in October last year when it bought into the Bulawayo-based Sai Enterprises, becoming one of the largest retailers in the city, almost overnight.

The Bostwana Stock Exchange-listed firm dared venture into a market where everyone seemed to be exiting. It also chose to put its money in Zimbabwe when there was growing uncertainty over economic policies and the political environment.

To demonstrate that the investment was not just for speculative reasons – as many investors who seem to be just keen to have a presence in Zimbabwe, but are not yet willing to sink in a lot of money due to political uncertainty – Choppies has since added four more stores to its portfolio.

The company now runs 14 stores in Bulawayo and there are reports that it intends to open branches in Harare and other parts of the country. However, it is the investment in Bulawayo that sends a positive vibe about a city that has suffered so much in the recent past.

Bulawayo has been described by President Robert Mugabe himself as a scrapyard due to the massive company closures and relocations to other parts of the country.

Zimbabwe in general is reeling from the effects of an economic meltdown stretching over a decade, but Bulawayo has borne the brunt of the accelerating reversal.

Therefore, the opening of yet another Choppies branch in the city last Friday needs not to go unnoticed. Bulawayo is desperate for investment and the few companies that choose to stick out even during the hard times need to be appreciated. The Bulawayo City Council late last year unveiled incentives to lure investors.

Council should go a step further and come up with incentives to encourage loyal investors to continue ploughing back into the community. There is no doubt that Choppies’ expansion in Bulawayo has created jobs and other opportunities for suppliers.

The company needs to be commended for showing its faith in the city. Bulawayo will rise again and it is investors such as Choppies, who have remained loyal during hard times, who will reap the most.

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